Sugar and spice and all things nice? Or mean and sassy?

Should heroines be like this…                        Or like this?

The women in my stories are nearly always strong-willed and assertive, standing up to bullies and never stuck for an answer. Smartass bitches? At times, yes. To me, this makes a story a lot more interesting and dialogue fun to write. The result is, perhaps, not to everyone’s taste, as I have discovered from reactions by some readers to my romantic comedy, Fresh Powder.

‘Mean, rude women’ they say, ‘unlikable heroines’. This rather surprised me as I find sweet, submissive women a huge yawn and will invariably stop reading a book populated by these insipid creatures.

The modern woman, I thought, is more assertive than her older sisters, more independent and strong. My characters often find themselves in situations where they have to fight to survive and elbow themselves up the career ladder.  Kicking ass is sometimes the only way out of sticky situations.  A lot of heroines in modern fiction do behave like this. Take Lisbet Salander, for instance, heroine of the Larsson trilogies. Sweet and kind? No! Not someone I would like to cross swords with but one of the most popular heroines in fiction these days.

Which do you prefer?

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mike Nettleton
    Feb 03, 2012 @ 01:01:05

    Susanne: I like strong women in my personal life and in my fiction. I just watched an older movie called THE LAST SEDUCTION with Linda Fiorentino and despite the fact that she was despicable (a great villianess) there was something appealing about her “take no prisoners” approach to life. In my own hard-boiled mystery, SHOTGUN START, Rory Monroe, after being threatened at gunpoint by some pretty nasty characters makes herself suck-it-up, saying “I gotta stop this crap right now. Ed Bob and Rita Jo Monroe didn’t raise them no weepy women.”

    Reply

  2. Trackback: Getting Real « The Write Inspiration

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